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Expositorty Essay

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By terjam1
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“My name is Khan and I am not a Terrorist.” This quote was taken from a film written by Shibani Bathija that depicted the feelings of a character whom believed to have been given bias and prejudice treatment from his surroundings because he was Muslim. Sadly, this statement has held truth too many feelings held by Muslims in America. Since 9-11, the treatment given to Muslim in American have been worse than it has ever been in years. Being an American Muslim has been a testing task. Post 9-11 has altered the mindset of the American people because of incorrect information. Although there are laws set against certain prejudice and bias acts, they still exist. One question we all as America need to ask ourselves is have we played a part in the way Muslims feel in today’s society. If the answer is yes, will you admit it and will you change? Most Americans will deny it, but as a society, we may fear American Muslims or have acted bias, racist, or even prejudice against them. Not all Muslims are terrorist!
The Muslim population was once very small but has increased greatly in the 20th century. In 2005, nearly 96,000 people of Islamic countries have become permanent American citizens. Then in 2009, there was another 115,000 Muslims who became legal residents. Muslims in American are not only Arab descent. They are very racially diverse religious groups and come from various backgrounds. “Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up about a quarter of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years” (Borelli, & Christiansen 2011). Muslims are populating America in large numbers and are a part of the American society but highly misunderstood (Borelli, & Christiansen, 2011).
The tragedy that struck America on September 11, 2001, changed America forever. For some American Muslims, they believe the attacks put them on the Americans map but in a negative way. "If this is Muslims, they're going to round us up," one American Muslim named Mona Eltahawy stated (Eltahawy, 2011, Para. 5). She feared that all people were going to see was “Muslims” attacked American. She was right. Eltahawy witnessed a White American attempt to burn down her neighborhood mosque. Mona also heard another White American make derogatory remarks to a woman who helped take guard at the same mosque. After 9/11, Mona speaks of a visit from President Bush where he shows he did not hold all Muslims responsible for the attacks. Despite his appearance, Mona states the contradictions of what the President spoke about in his meeting. His administration held military trials for civilians, President Bush admittance of secret prisons where he says, “mastermind of the September 11 2001 terror attacks and other high-value detainees had been transferred” (Eltahawy, 2011). Mona even speaks of the torture of detainees, most who are Muslims (Eltahawy, 2011).
The attack on September 11, 2011 has also changed the views on Muslims in the rest of America’s eyes as well. According to Bayoumi 2012, there are major issues Muslims in America has to face. She explains that groups of authority such as the FBI, NYPD, the media, and other social sources are stirring up the American society and keeping people in constant fears of Muslims. In August 2007 the New York Police Department released a report called “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” claiming that the looming danger to the United States was from “unremarkable” Muslim men under 35 who visit “extremist incubators” (Bayoumi, 2012, p.1 ). This article discusses dangers the United States faces because of Muslims in America. The report says that “extremist incubators” are all in America in the form of “mosques, “cafes, cab driver hangouts, flophouses, prisons, student associations, non-governmental organizations, hookah (water pipe) bars, butcher shops and book stores” (Bayoumi, 2012, Para. 1). The places mentioned are common places where terrorist activities are plotted but look ordinary. This kind of miscommunication would cause any ordinary Muslim man carrying out his everyday life look to be a terrorist. To make thing worse, another article surfaced that the FBI advises their trainee that American Muslims are “probably terrorist sympathizers” and that the agents could bend the rules when pertaining to Muslims. This activity not only condones bias treatment against Muslims, but also infringe on their rights as Americans. As long as no one makes mention of these issues, people will continue to fear Muslims and Muslims will we wrongly targeted. “Islamophobia” is an issue everyone should pay attention too because of the degree of actions that can and will be taken out on American (Bayoumi, 2012).
According to Bayoumi (2012), “absent [of] ordinary personal contact, most Americans will get their views of Islam through television, cable news, talk-radio, the Internet and really bad action movies. Because of the counterweight of personal contact is missing, Muslim attitudes are easily ventriloquized and distorted, and Muslims themselves often rendered mute or suspect” (Bayoumi, 2012, Para. 10). That is why when people get on an airplane and a Muslim sits next to them, they fear for their lives. Wondering if it would be the last flight they would ever take. This shows that there is a conscious and an unconscious bias against Arab-Muslims. An Implicit Association Test was implemented to detect a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects in memory. Project Implicit is a website sponsored by Harvard University that showed “50% of those who took the Muslim-Other IAT [thousands] showed an automatic preference for other people over Arab-Muslims” (“To Be Muslim or "Muslim Looking" in America,” 2011, p. 1). This number shows there many people who do not care for Arab-Muslims, even if they want to admit it or not. None Arab or Muslim Americans tends to show higher rates of implicit bias against Arab-Muslims than do against non-Arab Muslims. The websites also showed a high number of people who prefer Whites to Blacks. Therefore, Muslims are not the only group of people who other nationalities or social groups do not prefers, but other cultural and religious groups prefers any other group compared to Arab-Muslim. This shows that there is a wider range of people who have conscious or unconscious biases against Arab-Muslims (To Be Muslim or "Muslim Looking" in America, 2011).
Some people have justified their feeling and actions because there is a problem with Muslim extremist. America has suffered the attach on American soil that left 2 977 Americans dead. There has not been a greater tragedy than the 9-11 attack, and now people fear there will be another attack because of the recent Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The controversy coming from this cartoon has claimed the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, and two other Americans killed in Benghazi. Yes, other Muslim extremist also committed these deaths, but that does not say that all Muslims are terrorist or murderer. By doing things like protesting the buildings of mosques and all people of the Nation of Islam, you hurt innocent people who just want to practice their religion (The Religion On Peace Staff, 2002-2011).

In America, people have the freedom to practice whatever religion they choose. By believing all people of Arab descent or American Muslims are harmful people, you hinder their rights to practice their religion. You alienate them form the rest of the society and cause unwarranted hurt to innocent people. No person should make another person feel that his or her religion or lifestyle is inferior to another. No matter your race, gender, or religious beliefs, people should be treated equally in a Nation built of equality. Have you treated Muslims in America poorly because of fear or misconstrued knowledge? Although all of the harsh treatment. Mona became an American in April 2011, almost 11 years after she moved to America. “Watching the twin towers crumble on live television was the start of my deep bond with America that will endure the hate” Mona says (Eltahawy, 2011). Through it all, she still loves America just as the rest of America does. For someone who feels so deeply for America, why is she and the rest of the American Muslims being treated unjust. Even though you may think you may not fear American Muslims or have acted bias, racist, or even prejudice against them, you may. It is alright and even human to feel this way after the attacks Americans have indured in this country, but it does not make it right. Just do not act on those feeling and treat everyone equally. That is what this nation was built upon, EQUALITY!

Reference
Bayoumi, M. (2012, July). Fear and Loathing of Islam. Nation, 294(27/28), 11-14. Retrieved from https://ehis.ebscohost.com
Borelli, J., & Christiansen, D. (2011, August). American's Muslim. America, 205(5), 14-17. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com
Cashin, S. (2011, August). To Be Muslim or "Muslim Looking" in America. DFLSC, 2(1), 14. Retrieved from https://ehis.ebscohost.com/
Eltahawy, M. (2011, September 9). The Challenge of Being a Muslim in Post-9/11 America. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/09/muslim-post-9-11-america
The Religion on Peace Staff. (2002-2011). Islamic Terror Attacks on American Soil. Retrieved from http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/americanattacks.htm

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